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Thread: Crash!

  1. #1
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    Crash!

    I was riding down a local bike trail on a sunny Saturday, just a few weeks after buying my new commuter. I was bombing along, and was passing another bike, and this guy dropped something, and hit his brakes and made a u-turn right in front of me. I plowed right into him at top speed. Flew off my bike, my helmet hit his, I landed in the ditch next to the bike trail. I was lying on my back seeing stars when the other guy came over to help me up. I was okay, just banged up & scared sh!tless. He apologized and took off. I just then realized that my front wheel was bent, and two of my front gears were all bent to hell from hitting his frame. I thought I was going to have to carry it 15 miles home, but I popped the brakes and the front wheel would turn, though wobbly, and the chain, amazingly, would still sit on the small gear for a half a turn, then jump onto the big one for a half, then the smallest, and back and forth between the 1st and 3rd gears, so it was rideable, for 10 miles anyway, until it gave out and I had to walk it the last 5 miles.

    I live in Seattle. I always thought I would be taken out by someone driving a Forester, just before dawn in the rain, driving with a cell phone in one hand and a latte and a cigarette in the other. Instead, it was some fat, late 20s guy riding a mountain bike.

    I've only been riding 3 or 4 weeks. How often does everyone get into crashes? I could not see this coming. This guy just dropped something on the bike trail and swerved in front of me. Now I have to drop $$$ to replace parts on my 3-week old bike! Is this what I'm in for for the rest of my riding life?

    Here's some pics of the damage...



    Last edited by alpinist; 04-12-08 at 07:07 PM.

  2. #2
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    I've never been in a crash that damaged my bike. About 1300 miles since September. I don't think these incidences are very common, but MUP's are your most likely place to have an accident.

    I avoid people who don't appear to be highly expert on a bicycle. I recommend keeping your distance from riders you don't know, assume they'll fall down any second. Half of them probably will . Especially in spring.

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    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Ouch!

    Glad you're not seriously hurt, and no, I've never had that sort of thing. You should be aware though, that people on the pathways do not have a great awareness of things around them.

    Is it wrong of me to hope the idiot you hit got home to find out he was hurt? say something that will remind him of the accident for a month or two?

    We had a guy last week jaywalk across a major road near our office, made it across the Northbound and would have, amazingly enough made it across the Southbound, except his hat blew off, and he stepped back into the lane he had just cleared to retrieve it. That guy didn't get to say sorry.

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    Yeah, kind of like running... I've been running for years, and I find the most common incidents running involve little kids or dogs. They have a tendency to dart out in front of you with no warning. I've hurdled a few kids and dogs at the local pedestrian path over the last couple of years, no harm done, scares the parents and thrills the kids! Bikes - I guess it's just watch out for everyone. There's quite a variety of people on that trail... Spanex to sandals. This guy was just toolin' along and... Ooops!

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    Quote Originally Posted by coldfeet View Post
    Ouch!

    Glad you're not seriously hurt, and no, I've never had that sort of thing. You should be aware though, that people on the pathways do not have a great awareness of things around them.

    Is it wrong of me to hope the idiot you hit got home to find out he was hurt? say something that will remind him of the accident for a month or two?

    We had a guy last week jaywalk across a major road near our office, made it across the Northbound and would have, amazingly enough made it across the Southbound, except his hat blew off, and he stepped back into the lane he had just cleared to retrieve it. That guy didn't get to say sorry.
    You know, I don't really know wheter to fault him or not. It's everybody's path, and yeah, he should have looked, but you could also say I should have yelled "On your left!" when approaching to pass (which most responsible people on this trail do), there are many "coulda, woulda, shoulda" things here. He was genuinely sorry and shook up too. I'm not hurt, but I was P.O.'d when I saw the $$$ damage to my new bike. Just kind of discouraging.

    I was going pretty fast when I hit him, and if it bent two of my gear sprockets, it must have given him SOME kind of reminder, either on him or his bike. Both of us and our bikes were on the ground for a minute before we got up.

    I told my bike it was going to be okay, and I will take it to the shop tomorrow (I have an appointment for the warranty adjustments tomorrow anyway, in fact), and I told my bike that I will have everything fixed and it will all be better again...


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    Senior Member slowjoe66's Avatar
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    This is just my second season commuting, and I just began riding daily again for this season last week. However, in lots of day rides and one tour, and 2000 miles of commuting, I've never even had a close call. However, I live in a smaller town.
    I don't have a solution but I admire the problem!

  7. #7
    bike rider jimmythefly's Avatar
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    When and where was this? Today was awesome- it's still 70 inside my house as I type this.

    This kind of thing hasn't happened to me yet, but it has ALMOST happened a bunch of times. First off, let me say that you share no blame in this from my point of view. But, you have now discovered why "on your left" or "good morning" or "howdy" or whatever else you want to say is more than mere courtesy. It will also keep you from getting a farmer blow directly in the face because I didn't know you were there.

    On a day like today, when everyone and their brother is dusting off the old bike, this kind of thing you have to be extra aware of. I figure that on any trail marked as a bike path, other cyclists should -duh- expect that other cyclists to be around, passing them and being passed by them. However, common sense just isn't.

    For much of my commute there is a MUP that I ignore and ride in the street instead, where the obstacles are more predictable and known.

    Anyhows, get the shop to check your frame/fork. Anything that screwed up the wheel like that could've bent your fork, too. What bike do you have? I have a few extra chainrings and might be able to help you out.

  8. #8
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    How's your helmet? Does it need to be replaced? Those things are only good for one crash. Anyways, don't be a speed demon on the MUPs. Lots of Sunday riders out and as you learned, they can be unpredictable since most of them don't think anyones behind them (and are oblivious to what's in front). Save the speed for the streets and riding w/ traffic. As for that guy booking, he probably saw your bike and jetted before you could realize how badly your bike was damaged.
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    Senior Member Caspar_s's Avatar
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    I crashed into the back of my wifes bike on a trail once. Yelled at her to ask what the hell she was doing.
    She just pointed in front of her.

    I guess a skunk on the side of the trail is a good reason for an emergency stop :-)

    Bent the upright on her rack. But that is the only time I can think of with a crash that did damage to the bikes. A few scuffs and scratches from wiping out on ice (forgetting it was icy and doing a 90 degree turn doesn't work). I've even had a car on top of my front wheel without it being damaged. I tend to wear stuff out or have it stolen (two bikes in 6 years)

  10. #10
    Senior Member Miguelangel's Avatar
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    Hey! u were lucky and I'm glad...Now you learned the lesson that I learned last january...Trails and paths are often more dangerous than the roads ( kids, animals and yng teens) !!!! ...My lesson cost me a broken collarbone and 3 ribs...you came out of it cheap!!!

  11. #11
    Senior Member aMull's Avatar
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    Whenever i am approaching someone on a path, regardless if it's a child, adult, walking or biking, i slow down, unless i have a wide margin for passing.

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    Crash Craddock

    I ring my bell when approaching from behind, sometimes furiously. Check for head phones, or old age (hard of hearing). If the bell is eliciting no response be prepared to brake, HARD and YELL LOUD, “BIKE ! BIKE ! on your left”.

    Bell etiquette, two slow rings as a friendly early warning, and then increase frequency and loudness as I approach someone who is making no signs of acknowledgment.

    When the path is crowded (some weekends) I just have to slow down and fall in behind and wait for safe conditions for passing to develop. Yes, it’s a precious momentum killer, but it's just part game.

    If someone (grandma, kids, beach cruisers or whatever) is on the path that means they are not on the couch or in a car, so they have my RESPECT. Generally, the respect I give is paid back. I am no way implying that you did anything wrong I'm just sharing my MUP attitude and behavior. Ride defensively, ANTICIPATE wrong moves by others.

    BTW I've destroyed two nice bikes in wrecks. Both involved large stationary objects and were my fault. One was due to my failure to fully tighten the handlebars from repairs the night before. They seemed tight enough until about half way through my commute I had to cut quickly across four lanes of traffic and brake hard in a left hand turn lane. The drop bars rotated down and I stiff armed the glass (shattered) on the back of pick up truck camper shell. The forks and bottom tube were bent (pinched). I was fine.

    The second is almost to embarrassing to share . It was just plain inattentiveness on my part (there may have been alcohol the night before). I had this nice banana yellow ATALA racing bike. Early in the morning, (low sun), wearing a ball cap, down low, shielding my eyes. I crested a small gentle hill and was coasting down the other side, picking up speed. I woke up on the trunk of car, bent forks, pinched down tube.

    I think the similarity to driving a car is significant. The more you ride (drive) the safer youBecome. It’s been awhile since my wrecks. Now I wear a helmet.

    signed
    Crash Craddock.

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    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Not to be harsh, but that'll teach you not to go bombing down MUPs, and passing folks without giving a heads up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmythefly View Post
    When and where was this? Today was awesome- it's still 70 inside my house as I type this.
    Yeah, it was a great day. I was on the Burke-Gilman, along with about 1,000 other people... All pasty and white. It was a little after noon, around Lake Forest Park, or just before it.

    The bike is a Novara Forza. Taking it to REI today - going to test out their customer service one more time. (Uaually good, but I've never had work done in their bike shop before.) If they don't give me all the help I need in the bike shop, I will be one dissatisfied customer, let's put it that way...

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    [quote=jyossarian;6509223]How's your helmet? Does it need to be replaced? Those things are only good for one crash. Anyways, don't be a speed demon on the MUPs. Lots of Sunday riders out and as you learned, they can be unpredictable since most of them don't think anyones behind them (and are oblivious to what's in front). Save the speed for the streets and riding w/ traffic. As for that guy booking, he probably saw your bike and jetted before you could realize how badly your bike was damaged.[/QUOTE]

    That's what I suspect - all of a sudden, he was real anxious to get out of there, and took right off...
    Last edited by alpinist; 04-13-08 at 10:24 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zebede View Post
    I ring my bell when approaching from behind, sometimes furiously. Check for head phones, or old age (hard of hearing). If the bell is eliciting no response be prepared to brake, HARD and YELL LOUD, “BIKE ! BIKE ! on your left”.

    Bell etiquette, two slow rings as a friendly early warning, and then increase frequency and loudness as I approach someone who is making no signs of acknowledgment.

    When the path is crowded (some weekends) I just have to slow down and fall in behind and wait for safe conditions for passing to develop. Yes, it’s a precious momentum killer, but it's just part game.

    If someone (grandma, kids, beach cruisers or whatever) is on the path that means they are not on the couch or in a car, so they have my RESPECT. Generally, the respect I give is paid back. I am no way implying that you did anything wrong I'm just sharing my MUP attitude and behavior. Ride defensively, ANTICIPATE wrong moves by others.

    BTW I've destroyed two nice bikes in wrecks. Both involved large stationary objects and were my fault. One was due to my failure to fully tighten the handlebars from repairs the night before. They seemed tight enough until about half way through my commute I had to cut quickly across four lanes of traffic and brake hard in a left hand turn lane. The drop bars rotated down and I stiff armed the glass (shattered) on the back of pick up truck camper shell. The forks and bottom tube were bent (pinched). I was fine.

    The second is almost to embarrassing to share . It was just plain inattentiveness on my part (there may have been alcohol the night before). I had this nice banana yellow ATALA racing bike. Early in the morning, (low sun), wearing a ball cap, down low, shielding my eyes. I crested a small gentle hill and was coasting down the other side, picking up speed. I woke up on the trunk of car, bent forks, pinched down tube.

    I think the similarity to driving a car is significant. The more you ride (drive) the safer youBecome. It’s been awhile since my wrecks. Now I wear a helmet.

    signed
    Crash Craddock.
    I know what you mean on many accounts. That is a crowded path on sunny days, and I was killing time on the busy parts, being careful and not irritating or scaring people, being cooperative, and this happened on a stretch where it was just me and this one guy, and I was passing him a couple of feet away, and he looked down on the gound next to him to see what he dropped and swerved right in front of me. WHAM!

    I had a similar crash to yours when I was in high school. It was raining, and I was wearing glasses and a cap, and I was trying to keep the rain off my glasses and was keeping my head bent low. I was going fast on a residential street just a block from home and kept ducking my head lower to keep the rain off my glasses and speeding up. I ran into a parked car and bent my fork. Like you, I wound up on his trunk. That has to be right up there with the stupidest I have felt in my life.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67 View Post
    Not to be harsh, but that'll teach you not to go bombing down MUPs, and passing folks without giving a heads up.
    No, point taken. I surely will not pass anyone without yelling at the top of my lungs "ON YOUR LEFT!"

    Might get a bell, too, since I have allergies that cause me to lose or get a raspy voice in the spring.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyossarian View Post
    How's your helmet? Does it need to be replaced? Those things are only good for one crash.
    I was actually about to replace the helmet anyway. There is a defect in it where on of the straps attached to the liner keeps popping loose and it doesn't fit right because of it. Not sure if it's a design flaw in the helmet, or just a bad helmet. I like the fit & feel and ventilation of this one, so this time I'll ask for a straight switch for one of the same helmet and see how it goes. (Giro Hex, by the way.)

  19. #19
    Señor Wences jwbnyc's Avatar
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    Sometimes yelling "on your left" will have the exact opposite effect ie; they will turn into you.

    MUPs are dangerous. Simple as that. There are no agreed upon conventions that all users adhere to. If you are going to ride MUPs, always have an out for every encounter. Small children are particularly unpredictable.

    MUPs are great during off hours or bad weather when there are fewer people out there. It's best to avoid them when they are crowded though. On a busy afternoon you may have to creep along in order to avoid a never ending series of near misses.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67 View Post
    Not to be harsh, but that'll teach you not to go bombing down MUPs, and passing folks without giving a heads up.
    P.S. Harsh is good. It means you're not being PC.

  21. #21
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    I just have to add - if I hit that guy with enough force to bend two steel gears, why am I not hurt? I keep thinking about that. Damned lucky, there.


  22. #22
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Don't take that bike to the shop...fix it yourself.

    The chainrings honestly don't look that bad. All it takes is a hex key to remove them, lay them on something like a block of wood and go at them with a rubber mallet. If you insist on going to the shop, buy a crank puller and a truing stand.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post
    Don't take that bike to the shop...fix it yourself.

    The chainrings honestly don't look that bad. All it takes is a hex key to remove them, lay them on something like a block of wood and go at them with a rubber mallet. If you insist on going to the shop, buy a crank puller and a truing stand.
    More details...?

  24. #24
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Well, if the chainrings can bend, they can just as easily bend back...with the right persuasion.

    The crank puller will likely be needed as many chainrings can't be removed over the spider arms. The tool is inexpensive, usually one can be found for under $10, and it is used to extract the crank after the 8mm hex or 14-15mm bolt is removed. Follow the Park instructions for good results.

    Once the crank is removed, remove the individual chainrings with a hex wrench. Lay them flat on a board or other surface that won't be damaged by the chainring, or won't damage the chainring. Using a rubber or other soft mallet, beat on that chainring til it's flat, using a piece of glass or other flat surface as a gauge. You'll also want to inspect the individual teeth for bends or burrs. Don't freak out when you notice a few teeth shorter than the others...it's designed that way for smoother shifts.

    Once you're happy and the ring is flat, reinstall and you should be good to go. You can check the rings again by eyeballing the distance from the front derailleur as you revolve the crank.

    As for the wheel...truing a wheel is not hard, but a few tools do help immensely, such as a good truing stand and quality tight-fitting spoke wrenches. Here's Park's section on truing. If that seems like more than you want to take on, have the shop do that job. It should cost around $10-15.

    If you post this issue in the Mechanic's forum you can get even more help, but my point was to encourage you to take it on yourself to do the work. You'll learn a lot and be a more empowered and prepared cyclist. Heck, some weirdos even find it fun.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  25. #25
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    Along with what Wordbiker is saying, the chainrings (hopefully aluminum and not steel) can almost certainly be flatten to be serviceable again. A big vise, a mallet, visegrips, etc. If not confident about the entire bike's mechanics, I would have someone check out the whole bike for other non-obvious damage, though. Be sure to tell them what happened, so they can concentrate on looking for damage.

    That B-G trail can be really treacherous as you've discovered. Last year my brother, who commutes regularly on the B-G, was following a little too closely to a stranger, who slowed suddenly and turned - and bro hit him, going down and breaking his ankle, resulting in surgery, screws, etc.

    I almost prefer Lake City Way, at least northbound. On the trail, extreme caution, bell ringing, etc. Even looking out for critters, like the cats at 97th.
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